Today we honor the life of education advocate and Green Dot parent Shirley Ford. More than 16 years ago, Ford tirelessly searched for the best possible education for her two sons. The search eventually led her to Ánimo Inglewood Charter High School, Green Dot’s second school.
She continued on at Green Dot working as a community organizer, and then worked with us to launch a new organization called Parent Revolution, which was incubated at Green Dot and then launched as a separate entity. At Parent Revolution, Ford was the director of community partnerships, helping parents connect with local organizations to help demand good community schools. As a result of her work, Ford became a nationwide ambassador for parents from low-income communities who felt disenfranchised by their public school system.
“It is with a heavy heart that we mourn the passing of Shirley Ford, who left an indelible mark at Green Dot and would move on to become a voice for underserved families nationwide,” said Green Dot Public Schools CEO Marco Petruzzi. “She will be missed by all who knew her."
“I met Shirley 15 years ago when she walked into the front office of Ánimo Inglewood with her two sons. Through sheer love and will, she ensured her sons walked across the graduation stage,” said Cristina de Jesus, Green Dot California’s CEO. “Shirley is an inspiration. Her work reminds us all what love can look like in public. She reminds us to keep fighting for what is best for all children."
“She was like a big sister to me,” said Karen Robinson, Community Engagement Manager. “She always looked out for me, and our kids grew up together. All the great things people are saying about her are true.”
Ford is survived by her two sons, the oldest of which was the first in their family to graduate from college and is now a public school teacher. She is also survived by all of the children and parents who have and will continue to have better educational opportunities--and all the resulting life outcomes--because of her fierce dedication to social justice and educational equity.